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Rugby Union: Six Saracens players receive call-up for British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand

PUBLISHED: 12:36 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:36 19 April 2017

Saracens' Owen Farrell during the European Champions Cup, Quarter-Final match at Allianz Park. Picture: PAUL HARDING/PA WIRE

Saracens' Owen Farrell during the European Champions Cup, Quarter-Final match at Allianz Park. Picture: PAUL HARDING/PA WIRE

PA Wire/PA Images

Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Mako and Billy Vunipola all named in Warren Gatland’s 41-man squad

Saracens' Maro Itoje during the European Champions Cup, Quarter-Final match at Allianz Park.  Picture: PAUL HARDING/PA WIRESaracens' Maro Itoje during the European Champions Cup, Quarter-Final match at Allianz Park. Picture: PAUL HARDING/PA WIRE

Six Saracens players have been selected for the initial British & Irish Lions squad for the tour to New Zealand this summer after head coach Warren Gatland announced his 41-man roster.

Fly-half Owen Farrell, hooker Jamie George, locks Maro Itoje and George Kruis and brothers Mako and Billy Vunipola will all be on the plane to the southern hemisphere this summer.

The six-strong Sarries contingent form part of an initial 41-man squad named by Gatland in London on Wednesday afternoon.

Of the Saracens players named in the squad, only Farrell and prop Mako Vunipola have previous Lions experience, having been part of the squad that won in Australia four years ago.

The Sarries players have been rewarded for their efforts in helping England equal New Zealand’s record 18-game winning run over the past 18 months by being named in the squad.

Of the Saracens players named, George is perhaps the most intriguing, having yet to start to a Test match for England, but beating off the challenge from Red Roses skipper Dylan Hartley.

Sarries players not picked in the initial squad can take hope from club captain Brad Barritt, who was called up as an injury replacement midway through the 2013 tour.

Lions squad, backs: Dan Biggar (Ospreys/Wales), Elliot Daly (Wasps/England), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales), Owen Farrell (Saracens/England), Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon/Wales), Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Ireland), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland), Jonathan Joseph (Bath/England), Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland), George North (Northampton Saints/Wales), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs/England), Jared Payne (Ulster/Ireland), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Ireland), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors/England), Anthony Watson (Bath/England), Rhys Webb (Ospreys/Wales), Liam Williams (Scarlets/Wales), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England).

Forwards: Rory Best (Ulster/Ireland), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England), Taulupe Faletau (Bath/Wales), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Ireland), Jamie George (Saracens/England), Iain Henderson (Ulster/Ireland), Maro Itoje (Saracens/England), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales), George Kruis (Saracens/England), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints/England), Joe Marler (Harlequins/England), Jack McGrath (Leinster/Ireland), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester/Wales), Sean O’Brien (Leinster/Ireland), Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Ireland), Ken Owens (Scarlets/Wales), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins/England), CJ Stander (Munster/Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales), Billy Vunipola (Saracens/England), Mako Vunipola (Saracens/England), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues/Wales).

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